Jordan Livermore, class of 2009

Awaiting photoI’m currently a trainee 3D camera assistant with an eye to become a stereographer in a few years time. Its not easy and every day I’m learning something new……..

To view this film in 3D, find some 3D glasses and watch it on Youtube.

Here’s the full story:

Sorry? 10,000? Clearly this was a joke. We were doing a production course, we were here to produce and I was fretting because (like other creatives) writing is not my strong point. I didn’t have time (or the necessary get up and go) to write a 10,000 word dissertation. After a battle of trying not to think about it, I realized that there was no other way out of it.

Writing is not my strong point.

The first time my pen got anywhere near any dissertation related paper was shortly after the Christmas break of year 2 (early, I know, but I was convinced that no matter what subject I was going to write about, I wouldn’t have got the mark I wanted so I tried to cheat fate and give myself an early advantage).

I was on the train brainstorming ideas; (a case study on Dave TV? a case study on Pixar?) when I suddenly (for reasons unknown) I remembered seeing some 3D on the TV when I was very young – I think the BBC showed a Dr. Who related show which demanded the cardboard glasses containing the red and blue filters. Ultimately, this idea made it on to the list and shortly after I went to Dave McCaig. He mentioned that The Dark Knight (at that time unreleased) was going to shot in 3D so he said it’d be a great one to do (I later found out that The Dark Knight was being shot on IMAX).

I then got my head down to the practical side of the course and thought little about the dissertation until one night I crept out of the Odeon cinema with some mates where I saw a poster for U2-3D (Thats U2 the band in 3D!). I remember thinking ‘cool, the Odeon are endorsing a 3D film’. I did a bit more research and couldn’t find anything online – maybe the odd article here and there in blogs and journals mentioning U2 3D, but nothing overwhelming. I did a search a few weeks later and suddenly I was overwhelmed with the amount from journals, blogs, newspapers, magazines etc.

And the best part was that every day I was finding something new, this research was literally going online hours before I printed it off – instantly soaking up the information. It was in this period (the summer at the start of year 3) when I got my head down, making notes and flying though highlighting pens like you couldn’t believe. This was good – actual motivation to try and stay ahead of articles. By the end of it, I was throwing articles away, catching myself thinking; I don’t need this piece, I know how that works.

Now for the really, really exciting part;

As it transpired, my dissertation tutor was able to put me in contact with the Vice President of Technical Operations for Warner Bros. Europe for an interview at their offices. They had also arranged a guy from Dolby 3D to do a talk to me and several other people from Warner Bros. (how many other people can say they’ve sat in the Warner Bros. screen room!?). The interview went really well (at some point I was explaining how 3D displays without the glasses work) and I went down a few months later for an internship interview, but I unfortunately missed out on this opportunity.

After firing off emails to directors, producers and distributors, I got one back from the Director of Fly me to the Moon 3D (which was released in Oct ’08 worldwide) and President of RealD (who install 3D projectors for the cinema) who offered me a phone interview (both of which went on for over an hour)

After having a chat with these guys, I slung all my research together and my dissertation wrote itself. I put a lot of it down to that lucky brainstorming session I did.

A few weeks later I was looking for a job (yeah, turns out that’s part of the deal you kinda have to make when finishing uni), runners, drivers etc., when I stumbled upon ‘Stereography Internship’. My heart nearly leapt out of my mouth. Straight away I called them up and they organized an interview. I popped down to London and they were totally blown away by my knowledge of 3D; one of the guys said; you’re the most knowledgeable candidate by a mile (or something along those lines – I’m not lying).

I then went down for a second interview to meet with another 2 company directors from the same company, who again were impressed. I was thinking, if I’m the best then they are clearly going to pay for the best. Not quite; I get an email saying that the company wants to take me on for 3 months without pay and after then, they might not be able to keep me on at all. Thankfully I had asked them about their competition. Bingo!

They dropped the name Inition into mix. After reading the email about the lack of pay, I contacted Inition almost immediately to try and get some sort of short term work experience (but obviously didn’t mention that I ultimately wanted a job at the end – that’s just plain rude!). After 2 weeks of calling / frustrating their receptionist 3 days a week I eventually got hold of the head of 3D production Andy Millns. He seemed pretty impressed with who I had spoken with in my dissertation and the lengths that I had gone to.

To this day, that phone call was one of the most important I’ve ever made. He agreed to take me on for 2 weeks in June and extended it by another 2 weeks. Whilst I was there, I met people who knew more than me about 3D (which is refreshing when you’ve come from 18 months of people saying; ‘Shut up about your bloody dissertation!!’). At the end of it, I cornered Andy and told him that this had been what I had researched for a considerable amount of time and that I wouldn’t know where else to take my knowledge.

The line I used (and I still stick by it) was ‘You’re not going to find anyone else more willing or determined to learn 3D’ and at the time, he wouldn’t have! Then it came to 5pm on a Friday and I walked out of the door jobless… but thankfully I left with Andy and we went to the pub and he explained he was able to give me a job on 3D Production – at a time where there were only 2 production houses in the UK that specialized in 3D.

I’m currently a trainee 3D camera assistant with an eye to become a stereographer in a few years time. It’s not easy and every day I’m learning something new (be it about a certain camera, a 3D rig, a piece of software, a 3D display or just a bit of DIY). So far shoots I’ve been involved with; Are You Smarter Than Your 10 Year Old 3D (Sky), multiple 3D music videos, 3D pilots (for Sky) live transmissions of England Rugby Six Nation games, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit (and in the first two instances shoot) Pinewood studios, BBC television centre and Panavision UK.

But I don’t consider writing to be my strong point.